Gov’t offers Saturday help to families

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Gov’t offers Saturday help to families

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said yesterday it will provide a series of extracurricular activities and education programs on Saturdays in order to help dual-income families who need assistance in taking care of their children, as students in Seoul will not be required to attend school on Saturdays starting this upcoming semester.

During a press conference held at City Hall in central Seoul, the city government introduced a total of 2,076 extracurricular activities and education programs including sports, art programs, field trips and music classes, as well as a child care services.

“We’re going to fully employ our manpower and related agencies in order to run diverse programs for parents who are worried about taking care of their children on Saturday,” said Cho Hyun-ok, an official of the city government at the press conference. “We expect more than a million students in Seoul will enjoy the provided programs, which also reduces the burdens of child care, especially for those dual-income families working on Saturdays.”

The city government said that the core of the programs is to provide opportunities for learning and exposure to diverse areas for unprivileged children. It said that these programs will help students spend their weekends in more productive ways under safe conditions. The city government said it will operate Saturday sports leagues, including football and basketball, and also provide English classes.

For dual-income families who work on Saturdays, the city government will open 312 child care service centers in 25 districts in Seoul. In order to support multiethnic families, the Seoul Global Center will offer additional education programs including foreign language, science, art and music classes.

The city government said it has allocated 47.5 billion won ($37.8 million) for this year and promised to expand the programs gradually in the future.

“I’m very pleased that the city government has provided such programs,” Kim Chang-seok a resident living in Hongje-dong, northern Seoul told the JoongAng Ilbo. “I worried about how we should take care of my 10-year-old son every Saturday.”

Kim said that he and his wife work at a distribution company together and they both work every Saturday. Kim said that he has been worrying about spending additional money looking for a way to take care of his son, including sending him to a hagwon (private institute).

By Kwon Sang-soo []
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